About this Show

Book TV

Education. Non-fiction books and authors.

NETWORK

DURATION
01:00:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel 100 (651 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Eleanor 26, Mrs. Kennedy 22, Jacqueline Kennedy 21, Eleanor Roosevelt 12, Us 9, Kennedy 8, Washington 7, New York 7, United States 6, Khrushchev 6, Pakistan 5, Lafayette 5, Paris 4, United Nations 4, U.s. 4, France 3, Jackie Kennedy 3, Vernon 3, Mrs. Roosevelt 3, Virginia 2,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    Book TV    Education.  
   Non-fiction books and authors.  

    July 2, 2011
    1:00 - 1:59pm EDT  

1:00pm
see, women weren't considered capable of being journalists. and if they worked for newspaperses, they were usually consigned to society news, women's pages, that kind of thing. so, um, ruby black like these other women, very grateful to eleanor for having these press conferences, and eleanor had 347 of them while she was in the white house for women only. the other woman represented the new york herald tribune, an important republican newspaper which objected to the roosevelt election editorially, but she wrote the loveliest stories of eleanor. [laughter] .. articles.
1:01pm
does anybody remember reading eleanor's question and answer column in the "ladies home journal" or in mccalls, yeah, good, good. i still remember her advice on smoking 'cause i was quite interested, you know, should i smoke or not. and eleanor, well, she didn't really do it herself but she thought that as a good hostess you should provide cigarettes for others. but i've always been very glad
1:02pm
that i listened to her advice on that point. i never had to stop 'cause i never started. anyway, eleanor was writing for these magazines, both howe and hickock were helping her sort of work on her girls and howe was helping her sell them and it's even believed that hickock gave eleanor the idea for the my day column, which was quite a popular column of its time. she had a good many more readers than some of the men political pundits of the day. you want to see a picture of lorina hickock. they are going down a squalid streets in puerto rico to inspect conditions there. and hickock is the woman in the dress with the long tie there by eleanor's side.
1:03pm
hickock, after leaving the associated press then went to work directly for the roosevelt administration as an undercover investigator of poverty and relief conditions. the roosevelt administration. franklin is behind it. didn't really believe that the newspapers and the media of the day was telling people the extent of poverty. he wanted an independent investigations of how well welfare programs were working. independent investigations of how desperate people really were. he wanted a personal source of information. and hickock was one of the investigators. there were others. who were hired to go out -- around the country and make these reports that went to harry hopkins who was head of the new deal relief efforts. and also to franklin himself and, of course, eleanor saw
1:04pm
these reports. so that's -- that was part of their puerto rican trip. now, hickock, like miller, certainly wasn't a member of the upper crust. she was the daughter of a traveling butter maker in south dakota who had abused her as a child. as a reporter for the associated press, she had learned to write for average people. and she encouraged eleanor to write in that kind of style, and she also encouraged eleanor, who she admired tremendously, to see herself as a role model for ordinary women. the my day column certainly had the air of one neighbor talking to another. this conversational style highlighted many of the communication activities. the advice column for women magazines, the articles she wrote for women's magazines on such topics as a day in the life
1:05pm
of the white house, the role of women in politics, the role of women in -- cleaning up conditions in their own communities, that kind of thing. eleanor paid radio broadcasts and paid tours and what she did do from the column made her an income. she averaged about $70,000 a year, an average of $70,000 a year. as my husband can testify, because he's been through her income tax returns, which were fairly recently made available to the public, at the roosevelt library. now, $70,000 a year in those days is a pretty good salary especially for a woman, particularly it was a good salary when you figure that franklin as president of the united states was only making
1:06pm
75,000. in fact, there's one story -- i don't think it's true, but you run into it that when eleanor sold the first installment of her biography, this is my story to the "ladies home journal" for $75,000, in 1937, she ran through the white house waving the check saying, look, look, this is how much franklin made and i made it myself. doubtful that this actually took place, but there is historical evidence that she really did believe that a paycheck validated a woman's worth. she opposed legislation that had the effect of forcing women to give up their government jobs when they got married on grounds it wasn't right to have two wage earners in the family. she publicly advocated. ruby black helped her with this, too. that married women had the right
1:07pm
to hold paid employment. i'll just have to tell you this story since we started a little bit about sedalia, my mother had to give up her job as a high school teacher when she married my father. of course, married women couldn't be school teachers in those days. anyway, when she told the superintendent of schools that she was getting married, he said, oh, my! you see what i have left. only those wanted neither by god nor man. [laughter] >> an awful comment, unmarried women teachers but that's the way things were back in that era. well, of course, while eleanor is redoing the role of first lady she's still carrying on these ceremonial activities. this is the white house christmas card, 1933.
1:08pm
see, she's sitting properly by franklin's side. but she's making history in other ways. here she is showing an interest in african-americans, and she was really the ambassador of the roosevelt administration, two african-americans who were unbelievably discriminated against. this is a picture, 1936, and she is visiting howard university, and the two students on either side are dressed in reserve officer uniforms. now, this picture caused an outcry from segregationists who used it in the south to attack the racial policies of the roosevelt administration. but on the other hand, it made a great hit in the african-american press of the day which would take pictures like this and run them to show that -- here you had a first lady who really was sympathetic
1:09pm
to the cause of african-americans. now, she travels all over the country giving speeches. and some of them definitely paid lectures and some were not. often she's accompanied only by one person, that's her trustworthy secretary, melvina thompson. do you see the kind of clothes they wore. they sort of looked matronly. women weren't supposed to try to keep young the way they are today, no matter how old we actually are. they were expected to dress like older ladies. here she is on an airplane, of course, she loved to fly. she traveled about 300,000 miles during her first year. first eight years as first lady and then during world war ii, she was all over the globe visiting service personnel.
1:10pm
now, here she is knitting in a plane. you know, eleanor was never -- never quiet. if she was sitting down for a minute, she would pull out her knitting needles. this photograph was taken by her son in 1936 and used by the airline industry to try to promote flying among women. and i just have to read you this. it's my favorite part of this book. and it's short. but let me tell you, here's an usher at the white house, j.d. west, recalling eleanor raising through the white house, skirt flapping around her legs, see, they wore sort of long skirts, on the way to numerous appointments, west remembered, she would jump into her waiting car and call out to the driver, where am i going? [laughter] >> and on her way back, she gathered up people to bring home to lunch. he said she sometimes invited so
1:11pm
many, she forgot who they were. well, she was a very busy woman. of particular interest to this audience, i think it would be eleanor's interaction with capitol hill. now, of course, she operated behind the scenes as a conduit to place democratic women into positions in the roosevelt administration. she and molly doocen put pressure on james farley who handed patronage matters for franklin tried to find jobs for these very well qualified democratic women. but she was the first president's wife to testify before congress, addressing congressional committees on the plight of migrant labor and arguing for home room for the district of columbia and we got that one going on. [laughter] >> she was the first to hold a
1:12pm
government office. she was appointed assistant director to the office of civil defense and served for about five months in 1941 and '42. it was a bad situation. she did not prove herself a good administrator. she put some people at jobs that seemed rather strange, such as teaching dancing in air raid shelters. the press laughed her out of that job, but she never really took responsibility for the fact that she had made some mistakes. in her my day column, she said after she resigned, people can gradually be brought to understand that an individual even if she is a president's wife may have independent views and must be allowed the expression of opinion, but actual participation in the work of the government, we are not yet able to accept.
1:13pm
and, in fact, several times she was asked, particularly in her later years if she was interested in being president and she said, no, that she didn't think the country was ready for a woman president. well, it seems to have taken us for a long time to get to the point where we might be. okay. i'm going to move carefully, quickly here because we want time to talk among ourselves but i'll show you the other slides that shows her transforming the role of the first lady. here she is talking to the democratic national convention in 1940. the convention is about to rebel because it doesn't want franklin's choice of henry wallace as the vice president. and eleanor was called in to make a speech, and she made such a stirring speech, intimating that the country was about to go to war and that the person in charge, the commander in chief, needed the people he could believe in to help him. that the delegates went along
1:14pm
with roosevelt's wish and nominated wallace. here she's accompanying fdr and guess who? sarah. and her oldest son jimmy roosevelt and his wife betsy, on a tour of a battleship pre-world war i. on a more substantial note, here she is addressing the national conference on the problems of negro youth in 1939 with aubrey williams who was head of the national youth administration and mary mccloud bassoon who was the highest ranking african-american woman in the roosevelt administration, an official of the national youth administration. did any of you by any chance participate in programs of the national youth administration? sometimes to talk to people who say, oh, yeah, this is how i got through high school 'cause this was a program to offer work study opportunities to students and let them stay in school
1:15pm
during the tail end of the depression. and then the start of world war ii when it then changed into turning people to work in defense industries. we know that eleanor was very instrumental in setting this national youth administration up. and, in fact, fdr himself referred to it as the mrs. organization. and here she is at the camp in 1942 at a summer leadership training institute of the international student service. notice this is an integrated group. that was very rare for the day. unfortunately, we do not see joe lash in this picture. he was the general secretary of the international student service. but joe lash was the third person who i think was very instrumental in the way she transformed the role of first lady. joe lash was a jewish man, a
1:16pm
graduate of columbia university, an intellectual who was very involved in leftist student movements of the late 1930s. somehow he became one of her closest confidants after her relationship with hickon wan oo hickon which waned in the late 1930s. she attended the house of the un-american activities committee in which lash who played a leading and controversial role in these leftist youth organizations testified. lash first was a communist sympathizer but then he wrote with the communists and became a very strong anticommunist. lash said the two of them had a moral affinity. he introduced her to the machinations of communists
1:17pm
within social movements and eleanor benefited from his political savvy. as he discussed the way in which communists operated was in these movements and as years at the united nations, she said she didn't have much trouble dealing with the russians because she had learned about the communists when she had been first lady. she learned a lot, i think, from joe lash. but notice accustomed to making the role of first lady one of real significance as a traveling ambassador for the first -- for the roosevelt administration, during world war ii, she makes an enormous number of visits. in fact, she's away from washington so much that the washington newspapers has a headline, mrs. roosevelt stays at white house overnight. [laughter] >> here she is visiting enlisted men at a base in the galapagos island off the coast of ecuador
1:18pm
during a world war ii morale-building trip in latin america. here she is in england inspecting troops. why, she's certainly the first first lady ever to do this sort of thing, of course, she's traveling without franklin. and in washington, here she and mary mccloud bassoon are visiting a residence african-american women war workers. once again eleanor is making history by showing that she and the roosevelt administration really care in the plight of people who are at the margins of society. but she continues to play her official role as white house hostess. here she is entertaining the first lady of china. and we know the end of the story of eleanor's first lady. fdr dies in 1945 unexpectedly. guess who's with him when he dice?
1:19pm
-- dies? lucy mercer. eleanor is appointed u.s. delegate -- i'm sorry. is appointed u.s. delegate to the united nations by president truman and she is instrumental in the creation of this document, one of the most important documents of the 20th century, universal declaration of human rights. we would not have that document if it had not been for eleanor's genius in dealing with the communists and with the other political players at the united nations. so let me just conclude by saying i personally thank and try to make the case in the book that eleanor's ability to turn the relative passive role of first lady into a vibrant one of activism stems in part for the close relationship she has with people who are outside of the
1:20pm
normal aristocratic circle of an upper class woman. these people, and other people, too, the women newspaper reporters that she knew, women like ruby black and, of course, louis howe who, unfortunately, dies in 1936 -- they all help her transform a position she didn't really want, a job of first lady, and make it into a position of importance in the american presidency. in that spirit, i think she inspires us all to see the possibilities maybe within our own lives for doing what we can. i'd just like to end this with a quote from eleanor's book that she wrote in 1960, you learn by
1:21pm
livi living. [inaudible] >> you gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. you must do the thing you think you cannot do. here she didn't think she could be first lady but she succeeded very well. thank you. [applause] >> now, i would like to call mrs. strausser to talk about her experiences with eleanor roosevelt. >> my mother traded shamelessly on her relationship with
1:22pm
mrs. roosevelt. and, you know, not only to be the children's parties at the white house but then bragged about it in newspaper stories afterwards. [laughter] >> it is somewhat embarrassing, i think. [laughter] >> a lot of my acquaintances with mrs. roosevelt was just reading the my day columns which as a young person, i thought were pretty boring and often didn't notice looking back at them that there's a sentence with a barb in it. like, for example, if she was -- if she was discussing the subject of cardinal spelman. so, you know, there are things i
1:23pm
didn't understand at the time and, you know, it was just a nice boring nice lady that takes up a lot of time but i certainly admired the things she did. at one point i actually -- when i was in high school, i actually got to spend a week with her. my mother somehow arranged that i should spend my spring break in new york. and i got on a train. i went up to new york. i guess i was met by some family, spent a couple days in the apartment over washington square. i helped the butler walk the dog around the block. visited the united nations when she was working on this declaration and observed, you know, in which she held her own against the soviets. >> she brought me along in
1:24pm
anything she was doing including the school for boys which was one of her causes. she was a residential school for at-risk urban boys. they were all black, i think. and you know, she brings me to this school. she's visiting, i had never -- i was raised in virginia. i had never been in a place with so many black boys. but the thing i realized from that -- she had a lot of personal charisma. she had more charm than you would think of from reading what she wrote. if you read my mother's book you would say ruby black had a crush on eleanor roosevelt, and i would say, yes, yes she did and eleanor was the kind of person you would get a crush on. she was the kind of camp counselor that i developed a
1:25pm
crush on, you know, when i was 12. she had that kind of attractive personality and i suspect may always have had it and that was part of -- part of why she -- why she caught franklin. you know, she was not quite the ugly duckling that she liked to portray herself as. by the way, something i just realized and i might have internalized it before about the press packages with all that she did for black people there were no negro women in the press boxes. >> that's right. and there were efforts by black women reporters to get in and eleanor would have accepted that but steve who was, i think, a racist and he was franklin's press secretary, no, because if you let them in to your
1:26pm
conferences, we're going to have to let them in our conferences. >> she put a completely different channel on the negro community. >> she was a great ambassador because franklin didn't want to make an effort to pass antilynching legislation which was definitely needed but he didn't want to antagonize the southern congressmen so franklin didn't do much for african-americans but the fact that she was out there trying to do something spoke a lot to people. would you like to tell us about your experiences with eleanor? >> well, i didn't know eleanor but when i was a teenager i played in a band in lancaster, pennsylvania. and i was totally apolitical.
1:27pm
my parents would have been republicans. and my father probably hated fdr because he came from the amish community so he didn't believe in social services and so he probably didn't believe in the new deal and all of that stuff, but anyway, we played for i assume a political activity, and she -- she was the star. and so she came up and shook hands with each of us and now as i think back on that how wonderful it was of her take the time to do that. we weren't voters. we were just kids and i'm sure she had a lot of people to talk to and we were among them. she took the time to talk to us and shake hands with us. >> do we have questions or comments, yes? >> in relation what she said about african-american relationships, in new york, there was a newspaper, and i think it was the afro-american but i'm not quite sure about
1:28pm
that. >> the amsterdam news? >> and he had a very simple kind of guy whom he named simple and the title of the column was "simple says" and one of the things i remember reading and knowing about when i was young was simple says let's kill all the white folks except eleanor roosevelt. [laughter] >> do we have other questions or comments? yes. [inaudible] >> the question is, she had five children, did she spend time with them? >> in common with the upper crust of that era, when the children were little, she really turned over a lot of their care
1:29pm
to nurses and governesses and hired help. in the later years of her life, one of the reasons she traveled so much was to go around and see a lot of her children. they were scattered all over the country and they were always in some kind of trouble and made some sort of embarrassing headline in the newspaper. >> for example, what kind of -- >> well, elliott roosevelt never went to college and he was kind of a bad boy, but he would get very good jobs and -- the republicans would say he was trading on his father's name and he probably was. some of the children would be hired by political opponents of the roosevelt, sort of to embarrass roosevelt but also he gets to keep kind of a foot in the white house, too. hurst, for example, hired anna, the daughter and her husband to
1:30pm
run his newspaper, the "seattle post-intelligencer." i think their name had been smith, that this employment would not have taken place. so generally the headlines had to do with their jobs or, of course, their divorces because they had a tremendous number of divorces. i think 19 divorces -- well, we tallied up and the divorce was a much bigger deal in those days than it is now and the children did have a fractured personal relationships so that was embarrassing. >> other questions or comments? yes. >> sort of on that subject, the favorite letters i had in my eleanor and my mother, my mother had written something and
1:31pm
apologized for asking questions whatever scrape franklin, jr., had gotten into and eleanor's letter -- letter back says, it's all right about franklin, jr., i know you girls have to write about those things. so, you know, playing both the policy angle and the women's angle. it would end up on the women's pages -- she used both of ways to get to the public and not just one way. >> excellent point. ..
1:32pm
a very good school run by an intellectual frenchwoman who wanted her to stay for 1/4 year of high school and her relatives in new york with whom she lived did not allow her to stay for her fourth year. >> her grandmother said she had to come to do that and didn't want to do that. she was afraid she wouldn't be really popular. her mother was one of the great beauties of new york society and apparently her mother said something like you better be good because you certainly aren't beautiful. eleanor did not have good
1:33pm
memories of her mother. her father was a desolate individual who died in a drunken stupor with fire involved. so that side of the family -- the father and mother had split up. eleanor was a miserable child. by the time she was 10 -- [inaudible] >> on page 19 -- [inaudible] >> thank you so much. [applause] >> this book is part of the university press of kansas modern first lady's series. visit kansaspress.ku the e.u..
1:34pm
>> we ask what you reading this summer? here's what you had to say. >> visit booktv.org to see this and other summer reading list. next week continue our first lady programming with jacqueline kennedy. barbara perry, former judicial fellow of the supreme court recalls the transforming effect mrs. kennedy had the office of the first lady. from her renown celebrity to her engagement to the arts and championing of cultural institutions. this is about an hour.
1:35pm
>> thank you for putting this series together, for that very nice introduction and thank you to mary and felicia and the u.s. capitol society. we were chatting just before and that it is especially appropriate to talk about jacqueline kennedy at a historical society such as this because it was jacqueline kennedy who kicked off a movement to have historical societies for our branch of the government. the white house has the first historical society founded by mrs. kennedy in 1961 and the capitol historical society followed one year later in 1962 and a few years later in 1974 the supremes, u.s. supreme court historical society was founded in 1974. we are grateful to these associations because they're very helpful in keeping alive the history of these three
1:36pm
important branches of our government. welcome to all of you today. i want to begin with a question -- two questions for you. i spoke to c-span and they said this would be informal. we don't have to have a microphone so i will repeat your answers. the first question is going to be, if i can get my power point going here in a moment. there we go. what is your first memory of a first lady? i know some of you so i can call on you. if no one is brave enough to raise their hand. i know that you all have memories. tell me. [inaudible] >> eleanor roosevelt when you were a tiny child, barely an infant but you remember eleanor roosevelt. what do you recall about her? >> impressive speaker.
1:37pm
a have to recall looking back, toomey she came across as rather dowdy but i am sure at the time -- >> we will talk about that. next week with maurine beasley she will be talking about her book on eleanor roosevelt and it was my pleasure to serve as a reviewer for that book so you are in for a treat to hear maurine beasley and to read the book. she thought about the impressive speaking abilities of eleanor roosevelt and her fashion because we will compare and contrast jacqueline kennedy. other first ladies, your first impression, first memory of a first lady. yes? >> mine is eleanor roosevelt. hy was born in washington shortly before -- my mother was a reporter who covered eleanor roosevelt. and the white house --
1:38pm
>> wonderful. we have someone here in the audience based in washington at the start of the new deal. her mother covered eleanor roosevelt. this lady was invited to party with eleanor roosevelt. this is the wonderful thing about speaking in washington d.c. because everyone has a story. are have given this talk fairly frequently when i was in college and i asked this very question. who is the first first lady you remember? a lady in the front said mrs. calvin coolidge. we have a winner. no one has talked that for going back farther. more recent first lady's? anyone want to offer your first memory? [inaudible] >> i remember thinking how goofy looking eisenhower -- >> we will talk about the look of first ladies who preceded jacqueline kennedy.
1:39pm
eisenhower was the immediate predecessor to jacqueline kennedy. if we can move on, tell me who is your favorite first lady. if you have already spoken you are not allowed to speak again. this is how the supreme court runs its conferences. you are not allowed to give two opinions on a case you are deciding until everyone has been allowed to give one. tell me who your favorite first lady is. jackie kennedy? a likely suspect if you are here to say -- today to hear about jackie kennedy. i am told this is one of the largest turnouts for the first three of these in the series on first ladies and i don't doubt it. jacqueline kennedy still has a tremendous hold on the american imagination. others anyone would like to volunteer? other first ladies you consider your favorite? let's move on. why is it that jacqueline kennedy maintains this hold on the american imagination? this is what my talk is going to be about so all the slides will
1:40pm
illustrate why this is. here are some examples. i won't make you raise your hand to say if you watch qvc for home-shopping purposes. i only see it when i am racing through channel surfing. i would never stop but occasionally i do. what catches my eye is when they have the jacqueline kennedy jewelry for sale. it would be great if we could all afford the kind of precious stones and jewelry she had. these are costume reproductions of jacqueline kennedy's jewelery. this is the kind of iconography that is available to all of us about jacqueline kennedy including the heartbreaking photos of her with her children. just across the bottom here today these are some fairly recent book about jacqueline kennedy. hardly a year goes by that there are not several new books on jacqueline kennedy and the most recent are two that came out at the same time about the time she
1:41pm
spent after her marriage to aristotle onassis serving in new york as an editor, as a book editor and they are referencing her books, the books jacqueline kennedy edited so we get a sense of what she was like in the latter third of her life as she was a senior editor in new york city. now let's talk about why she again has such an impact on our imagination. 50 years celebrating camelot, of the kennedy administration starting this past january. the 50th anniversary of that cold snowy day when president kennedy was inaugurated the 30 fifth president of the united states. i would like to take a look at this definition. this is a political science definition of political symbolism and indeed this photograph here is one of the symbols of mrs. kennedy. you mentioned eleanor roosevelt and mamie eisenhower. what about bess truman?
1:42pm
let's think of those three immediate predecessors of jacqueline kennedy? when they left office they were in a 60s. jacqueline kennedy was 31 when she came to the white house to the first lady. there had not been young children in the white house since the teddy roosevelt era in the early 1900s and they were not as young as young caroline who was only 3 when her parents entered the white house and john jr. had just been born between the election and the inauguration. the only time that has ever happened in the history of the presidency. this was taken in 1962. can you even imagine mamie eisenhower or best truman on a horse? one of our reasons i can't imagine that is like my own grandmothers who were of that generation i never saw my grandmother is where trousers. my grandmother's always wore dresses. even just to see a first lady in riding clothes and be as athletic and she was an
1:43pm
excellent writer and equestrian to be on horseback, sternly from again the three predecessors. this course was given to her by the president of pakistan when she made a trip there in 1962. she made a semiofficial trip you might recall to pakistan and india and she was a huge hit. she loved this horse and many photographs you see of her from that time and her time in the white house and on her farm that she ranted and built a farm house right at the end of the presidency in northern virginia so often times when you see her writing she is writing this horse that the pakistani president gave to her. she had thrown for him an amazing state dinner in the springtime and early summer of 1961 at mt. vernon. in fact she had everyone meet and catch a boat to go down the
1:44pm
potomac river take an evening cruise and arrive at mount vernon and had beautiful marquees set up at mount vernon and had a beautiful outdoor lovely dinner with music for the president of pakistan and all those invited to state dinners. it still sets the upper bar for amazing state dinners that jacqueline kennedy had. this political symbolism i want to say something about. it taps into emotional and moral and psychological feeling. if jacqueline kennedy is still in our consciousness that is why. she taps into those elements of our emotions. when people say all that glitters is not -- there were some things that were not so good about camelot. that is the definition of a political symbol. it may not all be true but it caps ideas that people want to believe in is true and many
1:45pm
americans wanted to believe the legend and the methodology of camelot. what were the other symbols jacqueline kennedy is famous for and how did they have an impact on her husband's presidency? this photo is from summer of 1962. mrs. kennedy is with her husband in mexico on a state visit. notice who is in the front here. here is president kennedy standing to the back. president kennedy was known not to have a gift for foreign-languages. some might say his boston accent made his english a foreign accent to some. those of us in kentucky for example to while to get used to that. i happened to be taught by dominican nuns in a catholic grade school who were from boston so i was used to hearing those things so i was able to tap into that but look at how mrs. kennedy is dressed. some said the previous first ladies to her like eleanor roosevelt or mamie eisenhower
1:46pm
for beth truman or rather matronly in their appearance with old-fashioned suits or dresses and hats. look at mrs. kennedy. it was not that common for women to wear sleeveless attire in those days to a formal event. now we take that for granted and mrs. obama has brought the sleeveless dress back into vogue but jackie kennedy does that from the beginning. and note the color. a vibrant bright pink rather than dark somber suits or dresses and full sleeves or a little doubt the hat. i say she could wear this hat to the kentucky derby and be in style. this gives her husband another boost of symbolism of youth and fashion. we know what one of the other elements she is famous for is redecorating, restoring the white house. when i was doing my research for this book are called the curator of the white house in the 1990s
1:47pm
and told her i was writing a book and jacqueline kennedy and i was interested in mrs. kennedy's restoration of the white house. the curator said to me do you know that restoring the white house is so associated with the name and memory of mrs. kennedy that americans think that no one has touched the white house since mrs. kennedy left in 1963. yet we know everyone who moves into a new apartment or condo or house doesn't redecorating. most first ladies have done some redecorating. she undertook this project to restore completely the white house, take it from a rather shabby 1950s colonial look to a proper opprobrium look for the age in which it was built and initially lived in. she also established committees about the arts, about painting in the white house and she made
1:48pm
sure that everything that was there as best she and these experts could determine that these were all authentic. painting, sculptures, upholstery and antiques. this is a sad day in mrs. kennedy's life. this is the red room. that was the first room that she completed the restoration been this was the day of her husband's funeral. she insisted that she meet those who were coming from a far. those were diplomats, diplomatic corps from abroad. she stood with her brother-in-law, senator edward kennedy and insisted on greeting everyone who had come to pay respects to her husband. on a more glittery note we remember her for estate entertaining. in the short amount of time she was in the white house and with little over a thousand days she and her husband through sixteenth state dinners. in the first term full four
1:49pm
years of the w. bush term they held two. 9/11 happened during that time. there were security issues. but the bushes from texas were not as interested in that. they were not interested in stage entertainment. they were not interested in bringing people from abroad and entertaining them at the white house. the kennedy loved that life style. they both came from the northeast and had ties to new york city. president kennedy had ties to hollywood going back to his father's day as a hollywood mogul in 1920. they loved that glamour of entertainment. they also, particularly mrs. kennedy loved the arts so she would use each of the state entertainment occasions to bring artists to the white house. she would bring playwrights and opera singers and orchestras and plays that would be done at the white house.
1:50pm
this also reminded her that there was no proper national stage for the arts in washington d.c.. you know eventually won that leads to. this particular photograph, you might be able to see just behind -- hold up here -- just behind her you will see the kimono lisa. kind of dark. the enigmatic mona lisa. the mona lisa has that mysterious smile. mrs. kennedy is a bit mysterious even to us today because she maintained a tight hold on her privacy. look at other first ladies since. all of them have written memoirs. mrs. kennedy never wrote a memoir. think of hillary clinton memoir until she talks about finding out her husband's infidelity and she says high want to dream build neck. maybe she wanted to do the same to president kennedy but she
1:51pm
never wrote about it and never went on oprah to tell about it. she kept these things in her heart and it adds to that mystique. it was perfect for her to facilitate the bar wing of painting the mona lisa from the french. it is the height of the cold war. we need france as an ally. the president of france could be prickly and it could be difficult to deal with him at times. but notice how mrs. kennedy is standing next to andre melrose. this is how she approached men of power. she would talk her shoulder underneath there's and she would use that very whispery voice she had and whispered to him and these men would just unload their hearts upon her and they would tell her all of the thing that they wanted her to know. whether they are matters of
1:52pm
state or personal issues, andre morrow was the minister of culture in france and he adored mrs. kennedy and she adored him. she is standing next to him, not her husband or even a vice president johnson. that was part of her power as well not just during the cold war but throughout her husband's presidency. we also give her credit for saving lafayette square. imagine standing in this day and age in front of the white house with your back to the north portico facing out towards lafayette park. what if we didn't have the beautiful town homes that are there now and completely restored including dolly madison's home, the town home after her husband's presidency, imagined if we had high rise concrete federal office buildings. this is the plan that had been put into motion in the 1950s
1:53pm
because the federal government continued to proliferate. president eisenhower and president kennedy signed off on the plan to demolish all of the townhomes in lafayette square and use that prime real estate to put up a high-rise office blocks for the federal bureaucracy. this is kennedy got wind of this and went to her husband and said please don't do that. here she is with the architect. look at these beautiful town homes. they can be restored. she then called on a west coast architect whose particular interest was how to preserve history while adding modern architecture to it. so he suggested putting in low-rise office buildings and making them of red brick, not bright body concrete, but beautiful red, neil looking brick that would then go with the beautiful brick sidewalks
1:54pm
and pavement for route lafayette square. next time you are in lafayette square or you go by think of mrs. kennedy and how she saved that and in the process kick off a movement of historic preservation in the united states. she said i sometimes worry the bomb will hit and obliterate us all in washington, but it didn't and she saved this beautiful spot for us. that is just in the united states. we haven't talked about when she went abroad. we mentioned her semi-official trip by herself. she took a sisterly -- in pakistan. even in this day and age imagine what it took for her to pull off a trip to pakistan and india. she did that with great aplomb. her first trip abroad as first lady with her husband in an official statement to paris and at that time president kennedy famously said let me introduce
1:55pm
myself. i am the man who accompanied jacqueline kennedy to paris and i have enjoyed it. he was again a bit in the background because she was so beautiful and she spoke perfect french. she spent her junior year abroad in paris. she spoke fluent french and he doesn't look prickly to me. he looks charmed and happy. she is wearing as the muffin down. she would try to wear american designers when she was in america and only cassini when he had european routes was viewed as american by the 1960s so he was her primary stylist here but she fought when in paris do as the parisians and the french would do which is why she chose this gorgeous gown. in the bodice you might be able to see that she had embroidered flowers, beautiful silk embroidered flowers. this is what she wore to the state dinner at versailles.
1:56pm
the next part of the journey was even more important in terms of cold war politics. it was important enough to keep president they gaulle on our side but to go to the summit with khrushchev, president kennedy went to that summit meeting in summer of 1961. first time he met nikita khrushchev. he thought i am young, i am bright, i am dynamic and charismatic and that is how i won the presidency, i will be able to charm this communist russian peasant with no problem. one problem. he didn't. and khrushchev as the story goes, savaged the president to the deck of the president came out of the first summit meeting action faced. khrushchev took the measure of the man. mrs. kennedy on the other hand meeting at the same time with mrs. khrushchev and they are getting along famously. i am not here to argue that that
1:57pm
saved the free world or save the from the bomb being dropped but if you have some personal diplomacy going on behind the scenes that certainly helped. here is another point i wish to raise. if you can see, mrs. kennedy is grab a -- wearing a sedate dark suit, lovely pillbox hats she became famous for. look at mrs. khrushchev. you are a third world country as we call them in those days. we have aligned with the soviets or with the united states and you have to decide am i going to cast my lot with the united states or the soviet union based on how their first lady looks? which one do you pick? it sounds facetious but i think symbolically very something to it. the kennedys look alive and vibrant and stylish. the soviets did not. next, mrs. kennedy meets with khrushchev himself. this is not an official summit
1:58pm
meeting where diplomacy is occurring but she meets him at the state dinner in vienna. and look at the facial expressions on chairman khrushchev's face. president kennedy is in the background. here is mrs. kennedy in this lovely beaded gown and apparently she said this to chairman khrushchev when he tried to dazzle her with statistics about how many missiles they had and how many cannons and she supposedly said mr. chairman, don't bore me with statistics and he broke into this wide smile. as the washington post put it he looked like a russian schoolboy at the start of spring when the ice is melting on the volga. she belted him with her charm. other images were of her life as a mother. think how perfect this was at the height of the baby boom.
1:59pm
the baby boom goes from babies born in 1946 to 1964. caroline was born in 1967 and john jr. in 1916. mrs. kennedy is part and parcel of the baby boom. this i am convinced is why my mother who was having her own baby boom pact likely to older brothers and me in our chevy in october 1960, drove us to downtown louisville to see senator john f. kennedy come through and give a speech. my mother loved history and loves politics on a grand scale but didn't particularly like the rough and tumble grass-roots politics and political rallies. she liked to drive downtown and didn't like crowds. and yet this family, senator kennedy, mrs. kennedy, caroline at that time so drew my mother, catholic housewife to go see her new political hero